I received a great reader question, and I’m sorry, I did not save the name of the sender:
‘I think my biggest barrier to leading a chic life is being inundated with too much information. Which diet, which skincare product, which exercise, what habits. I wish someone would come up with a top 10 for leading a chic life because there is so much information out there that I don't know what to focus on!’
I can totally identify with this! Sometimes it feels like I am squirrelling all this information away, in my mind, on my computer, in my clear-files and all over the place really. Then, do I ever take it in, or am I just gathering data?
I have become a lot better about this though, and I think the main thing it all comes down to is knowing that I already know everything I need to know inside – and you do too. Having this thought in mind helps with that panicky feeling that comes up when you start trying to sift through all the information you’ve come across to see what you need to take in and what you can let go by.
With anything we want to find out available at the click of a button today, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the choices available to us. But stop and think to yourself ‘what is good for me?’ ‘what would I like to do’ and ‘what feels right to me’.
These days I stop myself when I think ‘I should do that’ and now think ‘what do I want to do’. Of course, I still have to go to work and honour commitments like that, but in my free time I can please myself. Even with little things, like thinking I ‘should’ read that book because it’s due back at the library soon (even though I’m not in the mood for it), it feels so deliciously rebellious to read something else entirely.
Or choosing to wash the sheets tomorrow instead of today. I usually wash them the same day I change the bed, but if I’ve been out and busy, what difference is one day going to make? It’s only when I used to put them off and put them off and then find it was the day before sheet changing day and they were still in the hamper… and we do have a third set but then I’d have piles of sheets to wash.
But back to the information quandry of our chic reader. My first thought is to come up with your own top 10 for a chic life. Note down ideas you want to try and stuff that’s worked well for you. Diet-wise, when I tried strict South Beach (no carb, I think?) many years ago when it first came out, I found myself weak and dizzy on the first day so I abandoned it, guilt-free and not saying I’d failed another diet.
But these days, I like being low-carb-ish, it just feels lighter and more nutritious. So I know that works for me. I know now that I enjoy using inexpensive mass-market skincare and cosmetics. I love to try new brands and products. I tried going high-end and sticking with one type, but I got bored plus I don’t think my skin looked any better.
Make all this your work of a lifetime, working out what works for you, custom-tailoring all your choices to suit your lifestyle, your wallet, your values.
Instead of thinking ‘I don’t know what to focus on’, change your thought to ‘I am finding out what suits me’.
It’s finding that balance between being too rigid – only sticking to one thing forever – to too loose (‘I don’t know what to focus on’). Sometimes I feel like I am being flaky because I change my mind fairly regularly on things I like and don’t like, but it feels better (and more true for me) to know that I am following the breadcrumbs along the path to find out more about myself and enjoy my life.
After all, wouldn’t it be boring if we never changed? Never grew? Imagine if you ate the same foods as twenty years ago, wore the same clothes, same perfume. I do feel like I haven’t changed that much, but when I see an old photo (sometimes not even that old) or read an old journal entry, I’ve changed heaps! And that is a good thing I think, that I haven’t noticed day to day, it mean the evolution is gradual, plus it’s there. It’s still fluid and consistent, not non-existent or at a jerky speed.
So let’s look upon all those choices as opportunities to evaluate and choose what is right for us. As I said at the beginning of this post, we do know inside, it’s just that often-times we are too busy to notice. And I say all this as much to myself as I am to you, because I am also someone who loves to take in information and learn new things and every so often find myself full up and fed up, saying ‘Stop! Stop with the information!’
That’s when I know it’s time for a rest, time to stop Googling, time to start opening my journal instead and asking questions of myself. There are also different times too – you will happily be going along absorbing everything you find, and then you instinctively know it’s time to pull back and listen to yourself.
Does this ring true for you too? Do you feel like a crazy person sometimes with all the words in your head? Is it must me then? I’ll say one thing though, life is never boring when you have an inquisitive mind.
PS. My newest book came out this week! 'How to be Chic in the Winter: Living slim, happy and stylish during the cold season' is now available in Paperback and on Kindle. You can see it here.
PPS. Have you see my latest video yet? I recorded it on Monday and it is on YouTube below: